What is Cat’s Claw?
Alternate Names: Uncaria tomentosa, una de gato, life-giving vine of Peru
Cat’s claw is native to the Amazon. It’s name comes from the thorns on the plant’s leaves that look like the claws of a cat. The part used medicinally is the root bark.
Why People Use Cat’s Claw
Cat’s claw has a long history of traditional use by indigenous peoples in South America. It’s been used to treat digestive problems, arthritis, inflammation, ulcers, and to promote wound healing.
Cat’s claw has become popular in North America, notably for cancer and HIV. Although cat’s claw stimulates immune function, there is little scientific research supporting it’s use for these conditions.
- Diverticulitis, gastritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory digestive disorders.
Cat’s claw comes in tablets, capsules, teas, tinctures, or dried bark, root, and leaves.
Some herbalists recommend a typical dosage of 20 to 50 mg in capsule form per day or 1 to 2 mL of the tincture taken up to two times per day. Alternatively, cat’s claw can be taken as a tea.
li]Cat’s claw should not be used by people with autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis, and tuberculosis.
- Cat’s claw should not be taken if you are taking the following drugs: blood-pressure drugs, blood thinners such as Coumadin.
- Cat’s claw should not be taken pre- or post-surgery or if you have a blood clotting disorder.
- Cat’s claw should not be used in pregnancy.
Important Points About Cat’s Claw
Call your health practitioner if you experience symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness or weakness, or if you notice unusual bleeding, unusual bleeding gums, bruising, or red spots on your skin.